KUNM

Water Restrictions Lifted For Animas and San Juan Rivers

Aug 17, 2015

New Mexico lifted water restrictions on the Animas and San Juan Rivers over the weekend in the wake of a toxic mine spill in Colorado.

Water samples showed spikes in heavy metals, but state and federal officials say contaminants have been diluted and dispersed downstream.

That brought relief to farmers in San Juan County who are not on the Navajo Nation. They were given the go-ahead on Saturday to irrigate and use the water for watering livestock after the San Juan and Animas Rivers had been closed for more than a week.

The EPA said water samples showed contamination levels were returning to what they were before the 3 million gallon Gold King Mine spill.

But state officials are warning people to not drink directly from the rivers and to wash with soap and water after coming into contact with the rivers or the sediments. They also recommend that people do not eat fish from the watershed until they can determine the level of contamination in the aquatic life.